Ralph Lauren: The History of Vintage Americana
Synonymous with vintage America, The aesthetic is clear, from leather riding boots and white cotton to striped polo shirts, fitted blazers, patchwork skirts, and denim. The dream he sold was the dream of an energetic, polished, academic, yet casual American life.
How did Lauren create his empire and become a fashion icon? The brand's history includes Polo, Ralph Lauren Home, Polo Sport, Purple Label, and more, as well as the polo pony and teddy bear.
His father was an artist, but Lauren's creativity went in a different direction. He had a "look" as a Bronx teen. Searching secondhand stores for special pieces. Pieces that would act as lifelong inspiration. A vision of life, with quality classics that are wearable for generations. He looked at past generations and seemed to have insight to the future. He could take the classics and make them better.
1968 was Lauren's first menswear collection. Polo, Bloomingdale's boutique, opened the following year. Fun fact, Bloomies didn't want his ties to have HIS label on them. They wanted their label. Ralph declared a hard NO on that. Somehow, Bloomingdale's caved and it made the next steps easy. First store opened in 1971, first womenswear collection in 1972. He introduced the polo shirt and the embroidered Polo Pony in the early 1970s.
Next, he created Polo for Men in the late 1970s and Polo Western and Santa Fe in the 1980s. Later came his Home collection and Safari. Polo Sport, now valuable activewear, launched in 1992. The decade's second new label was the luxury Purple Label. Ralph Lauren has since expanded into restaurants, worldwide locations, museum displays, CFDA awards, and philanthropy.
Lauren teamed with Vogue in Spring 2022 to offer a vintage line that includes archival designs, handpicked vintage pieces, and recycled RL textiles.
Suede loafers, a 1930s chemise, or a Squash Blossom turquoise necklace match Ralph Lauren's Americana aesthetic. Ralph Lauren's 50-year legacy IS America style.
I always notice Nashville's traditional style. Cowboy boots, denim prairie skirts, and white shirts. Nashville's style is turquoise and silver. So curious!